Thursday, March 10, 2011

Business Marketing

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Heading towards 10 o'clock and I'm ticking away on a list of overdue items. Gail is not all that pleased with me this morning because I have misplaced a list of daylilies I need to update our website. She is convinced she gave it to me and I am convinced my office needs a good cleaning. You don't find many people like Gail and despite my shortcomings, she is always there to bail me out of messes. Some friends would have given up on me by now but Gail is Gail and she accepts the good and the not so good in far.

The snow continues here as the temperature rises. We are almost at 30° so my guess that rain would be here by noon is about on target. The birds are feeding as if it's a big storm coming. A lone red squirrel sits on the weather station post eating sunflower seeds and ignoring me as the anemometer turns at 4 mph. The trees and shrubs are dusted with a couple inches of the latest snow and life is still good. Life will be lots better when the snow slides off the roof.

Yesterday Gail and I traveled to Greensboro, Vermont to Highland Lodge for a marketing seminar. The lodge, pictured up top here, is now moving into its fourth generation of Smiths. The Smiths are a special family and the lodge is a fine piece of Vermont, sitting mid mountain and looking down on beautiful Caspian Lake. The accommodations are excellent and the Lodge's tag line is so very appropriate .......... "Unplug, Relax, Reconnect".

The seminar seemed like something any small business owner should attend. It was billed as "Marketing Your Business Without $pending a Fortune". Internationally known marketing expert Scott Vogel was on hand to help participants quantify their current marketing practices and then plan how to bring in more customers, sales, smiles. Scott has offered his marketing skills to businesses of all sizes including Marriott, Walt Disney, Pepsi and the US Military. He also has excellent experience in the food and beverage industry and he obviously knows people very well. Gail and I had the privilege to be accompanied by an owner of a restaurants/inn/motel, two non profits owners, a transportation company manager, a music producer, a farmer raising goats for cashmere and meat, an artist, a clothing store owner, a specialty cake producer, an agritourism farm owner, a Green certified sealant company manager, and two day care/children activity specialists. The mix was unplanned but excellent and in the end, the potential linkages we built were significant.

It was pleasant to hear Scott confirm some of the things Gail and I have been tossing around for a couple years. He also shared some stimulating suggestions for each business. Here are a few bullets for you to apply against your business or plans for a business.

  • Know the difference between advertising and marketing.
  • Test your advertising format. What is the return on your ad investment?
  • What is a new customer worth over a lifetime?
  • What are you willing to spend for a new customer?
  • How big is your business community and how do you interact with its members?
  • Consider and develop a distinct, recognizable business brand.
  • Build video and recording into your marketing now!.
  • Consider 1-2 minute YouTube videos. Could be tied to FAQ's rec'd from customers.
  • Use direct mail with oversize post cards.
  • Ask yourself, who are you? what's the benefit of your service/product to your customers?
  • How do you communicate this succinctly to customers so they remember it?

Any business needs to get out and about once in a while and see what other people are doing, saying, learning, teaching. Scott did a great job reinforcing linkages and explaining how to use networking to be more productive. It's bigger than Facebook or Twitter or a blog or website. It involves business men and women looking into themselves and looking out to their competition. No matter what you think your skills are at the beginning, I'll guarantee your confidence will improve along with your business.

Writing from the mountain above Peacham Pond where the first snow just slid off the house. 32°. When you build your house just like you build a business, figure out where the snow will slide. I did not. I'm going out to shovel the steps and get the mail.

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener
Vermont Flower Farm
Social Networking Works!©
On Facebook as Vermont Flower Farm and Gardens and also as George Africa
On Twitter as vtflowerfarm

1 comment:

Salix said...

Sounds like a great seminar. I hope that you found your daylily's list - and maybe you won't have to shovel the steps as the rain is coming? that is, if you can jump over the snow to get to the mail box.